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NY Fed study shows limited lending to small businesses

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Small businesses are telling Fed officials that they don't have access to credit. Data from a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed more than two-thirds of small businesses experienced declines in sales and revenue during the first half of the year, implying a broad weakening of finances in the industry. But only half of loan applicants were approved. Some 59% of poll respondents said they applied for credit during the period, and half of those applicants received some level of funding. Although 75% of those surveyed reported receiving only some or none of the credit they sought, according to the data. The report comes as the nation's largest banks begin announcing quarterly results. Last week, JPMorgan (JPM) reported third-quarter earnings of $4.4 billion. Earlier Monday, Citigroup (C) said it earned $2.15 billion for the most-recent quarter. Bank of America (BAC) results are coming Tuesday and Wells Fargo (WFC) on Wednesday. Many are looking to see how much the banks set aside to cover costs associated with halting foreclosures, answering politician's questions, and an almost certain coming wave of litigation. New capital requirements under Basel 3 and Dodd-Frank may also impact how much banks put in reserves, which probably doesn't bode well for struggling businesses seeking stop-gap funding. The NY Fed said "small businesses typically create more jobs than larger firms do at the start of economic recoveries." "Until now, we’ve only heard anecdotally about difficulties for regional small businesses in obtaining credit without any numbers to confirm this," said Kausar Hamdani, community affairs officer at the NY Fed. "A main purpose of this poll was to hear directly from small businesses about their recent credit experiences and to analyze them systematically in order to learn more about where the largest obstacles exist." The bank polled 426 regional small businesses in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania on their finances, credit needs and recent borrowing experiences. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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